I worked very hard kissing pieces of paper to make these visual representations of Twelfth Night and Troilus and Cressida.
Basically my thought process is this: both of these plays deal with gender in one way or another. What’s more heavily gendered than lipstick? And how can I alter the appearance of a simple smooch to address some more themes in these plays?
So here they are:
Twelfth Night on left, Troilus and Cressida on right (in case the quotes weren’t obvious.)
Kisses are more popularly recognized as small acts of romance which is present in both of these plays, but as I said earlier, my goal here was to use one obvious symbol in different ways.
In the Twelfth Night piece, the lipstick represents makeup, costumes and disguise. One half of the mark is intact, representing Viola and her complete femininity, and the other half is smudged, representing Cesario and his apparent lackthereof.
In the Troilus and Cressida piece, the lipstick is lust and the sword is war. In our society, some women are seen as ‘false’ for wearing makeup, and this ties in as well. Not only does Cressida become false because of what she says to Troilus (with her lips, get it?) but for acting on the lust between herself and Diomedes. I drew the sword in because war is literally half of the plot, and I think it works to create a sinister contrast between something sexy and comfortable and something undesirable and dangerous.